Recipe: An end to meringue madness with a Forest Fruit Pavlova to be proud of!

It’s been a busy weekend in the Sambolino household with some back breaking work chopping logs in the garden followed by digging our new veggie patch so we can put our green fingers to the test, not to mention sweeping unwanted scorpions from the kitchen where they seem to have taken up residence.

Add to this dinner for 6 on saturday, lunch for 5 on sunday plus some sunday surfers who called in to watch the Genova-Inter match and you can imagine the kitchen was also a hive of activity.

This weekends success story was cracking the meringue and finally I was able to make a Pavlova to be proud of. Past efforts have fast morphed into an “Eton mess” or in other words a cover up mission to disguise yet another embarassing foray into whisking egg whites and sugar. How can a dessert with so few ingredients prove so difficult?

So what made the difference? Firstly, I followed the recipe religiously (stupid as it sounds!) where usually I am partial to measuring by eye and going for the “more or less” strategy. Secondly I added in an extra egg white in the hope that this would make the difference between being fluffy inside and crunchy outside versus my usual cremated crunch, and what do you know, it worked!

Ingredients: 4 egg whites (room temperature, 175g caster sugar, 1 tsp /  5ml white wine vinegar, 1 tsp / 5ml corn flour), whipping cream, mixed berries (fresh or frozen), icing sugar

Preparation:10 mins prep + c. 1 hour cooking + min 2 hours resting before adding cream and fruit

  1. Preheat the oven to 140C degrees and prepare a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper.
  2. Whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until thick and glossy looking. The test is that if you can turn the bowl upside down and the mixture stays put then it is ready.
  3. Mix the vinegar and corn flour together and add in to the egg mix along with half of the sugar and whisk together.
  4. Using a metal spoon gently fold in the rest of the sugar being careful not to beat out any air.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the centre of the baking tray so it forms a round and place in the oven.
  6. Allow to cook for 10 mins at 140C and then  reduce temperature to 120C for the remaining 50 minutes. Once cooked (slightly golden) turn off the oven and leave to rest inside without opening the door for a further half hour.
  7. Remove and allow to cool for a further couple of hours before adding the topping.
  8. Whip a generous portion of cream to cover the top of the meringue leaving a border of c. 5cms around the edge.
  9. Heap your fruit on top and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Tip: You can use any fruit in season. Other great combinations include strawberries and kiwis, poached rhubarb and ginger, mandarin and almonds.

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